An Innovative Housing Solution for Adults with Autism



Sweetwater Spectrum provides an excellent opportunity to make sustainable design tangible and visible to anyone who visits. Seeking to exceed LEED™ Gold level certification requirements, the community will enjoy reduced energy consumption, long term operating cost benefits, and a healthy indoor environment for those who live, work, or visit Sweetwater Spectrum.

As a participant in PG&E’s Net Zero Energy Pilot Program, Sweetwater Spectrum has integrated electrical and mechanical features that will promote energy efficiency including a solar hot water system. In anticipation of the installation of photovoltaic solar electric (PV) roof panels, consideration was given to roof pitch and orientation, vent layout, and specific roof load bearings. In addition, the campus incorporated four key sustainable practices:

Water Conservation

  • Drought-tolerant plants
  • On-site storm water management in the form of property-wide bioswales (landscape elements designed to remove silt and pollution from surface runoff water, and also retain water onsite instead of burdening city storm water systems)
  • Water efficient plumbing fixtures
  • On-site well water for irrigation of the urban farm and orchards

Renewable and Recyclable

  • Renewable building materials
  • 100% FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified lumber
  • Low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) materials
  • No formaldehyde-adhesives
  • Non-toxic building materials
  • Recycling during construction

Energy-Efficient Design

  • Solar water heating
  • Low E-value insulated windows
  • High R-value insulation
  • Natural day-lighting/sun control
  • Radiant heating/cooling slabs with high efficiency/low velocity air ventilation


  • Urban in-fill site
  • Low impact development
  • Indoor air quality management
  • Low reflective “cool” roofs
  • Low reflective “cool” paved walking and permeable driving surfaces

The nearly 3-acre property is within walking distance of the historic Sonoma Square and provides easy access to shopping, dining, entertainment, public transportation, and bike trails.